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Poster: Andrew Sylvester Date: Mar 17, 2005 6:37am
Forum: classic_cartoons Subject: Betty Boop, "Minnie the Moocher"

Hello people,

Not sure if anyone "high up" reads this particular forum, but I've been searching through the U.S. Copyright Office web site for references to "Minnie the Moocher." The cartoon itself has no entry, leading me to believe it's in the public domain.

Then I thought, "well, maybe the Cab Calloway song is under some kind of protection still." There were about 19 entries that were music-related, and none of them were from earlier than the 1980s, which leads me to believe that there would be no conflict with any "underlying" rights to the soundtrack or anything.

So my question is, is this completely, totally, 100% legitimate? I have a copy somewhere at home (I'm away till next weekend) and would *love* to be able to share this absolutely bizarre (beyond compare) cartoon with people, but I have no idea what to look out for.

Any help? Or, for that matter, can anyone tell me if I'm using the USCO web site properly? Do they not have listings for works whose copyrights have expired?

Thanks for any help, and here's hoping.

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Poster: akb Date: Mar 17, 2005 7:56am
Forum: classic_cartoons Subject: Re: Betty Boop, 'Minnie the Moocher'

The Copyright Office website is of little use for doing copyright searches. Their online database only contains entries since 1976, after which copyright was automatic anyway. The records that most people are interested in are on paper or microfilm and kept at the Library of Congress in DC. If you can't do the search yourself you can pay the Copyright Office to do it for you, according to their website they charge $75/hr to do a search. You can also hire a professional researcher to do a search for you for a similar amount.

For a work copyrighted in, say, 1930 it would have had to have been renewed in the 1958 for it to still be under copyright. You are right that the images and music have seperate rights, there may be others as well. You might want to check out the Copyright Office's circular describing the length of copyright for different time periods.

I did notice some Betty Boop cartoons uploaded to the Open Source Movies section recently that appear to have been taken from DVD.

This post was modified by akb on 2005-03-17 15:53:41

This post was modified by akb on 2005-03-17 15:56:26